Tell your map story with Mapifator

Map story, places map, interactive map… It could have different names! But with Mapifator – our new map builder, you can create all of them. Geoapify offers you an opportunity to combine places, text, media with GIS maps, so it turns out into an interactive map story.

Share the created map story with your friends, customers or integrate it into your website or application.

Why a map story?

Almost all data has a location component. In other words, if data could be associated with one or several places, it can be shown on a map.

The map completes the data with visual representation, understanding about the size, position and distances. It allows visualizing the data in a more natural, attractive and engaging way. So the result could be interpreted as a picture, amination and interactive map.

For example, one of our demo maps “Top 25 innovative cities Outlook 2019” by A.T. Kearney, Inc. is based on data originally represented as a table:

Top 25 innovative cities Outlook 2019

But it shapes into attractive marketing, research, and demo tool when it’s represented as a map:

Show places and related information

A place in Mapifator is a combination of location and related information. With Mapifator you can define the place location with location input or on a map. Add interesting text about the place, attach pictures and videos. You can also create call actions with external links that appear as buttons.

Edit a place in a map story builder
Edit a place in Mapifator

Places in Mapifytor Map Story are ordered, so a user can navigate them with arrow buttons on map controls.

Choose the map and controls design

With Mapifator you can customize your Map Story to fit it into your Website or Application design. At the moment you can choose different map styles, define controls layout, and setup icons for places markers.

Map types in Map Story builder
Map types in the Map Story builder

Add amenities and geometries

Not only places can be defines in Mapifator. You can add amenities and geometries to your Map Story.

There could arise a question – What is the difference between amenities and places? Well, the concept is a bit different. Amenity is some location, which you would like to mention or highlight on a map. For example, it could be airports or train stations, and hotels near the place. They could have a name and sometimes buttons with external links.

The same as amenities, geometries are lines or polygons on a map, which could give some additional information for your users. In Mapifator you can add administrative or political boundaries, routes, and custom lines and polygons as geometries.

Add geometries in the Map Story builder
Add geometries in Mapifator

Both amenities and geometries could be independent and visible for any place or related to a place. Those will appear on a map only when the place is selected. Moreover, you can hide amenities on small zoom levels and make them appear on a map only from a defined zoom level.

Create a map story for free

We offer a Freemium model for Mapifytor maps. Create a map story for free and share it with your users, customers or colleagues. Our pricing depends on map views and usage. Extend the plan when you need it.

How to make the location search more relevant

Possibility of location search and showing the places on the map makes the map more valuable. For example, you could show restaurants or public transport stations on a map to improve the customer experience.

But it’s always a question what to show on the map and how to provide the most relevant information to your clients.

Ways to query points of interest

There are a few ways to query locations and show them on a map:

  • By bounding box. Allows showing all points of interest on the screen.
  • By radius map. This way you can visualize potentially reachable points of interest.
  • By travel time map. It’s a more accurate approach than by radius map. In other words, travel time maps help to filter locations accessible within desired time with chosen transportation mode. For instance, driving, walking or by public transport.

Geoapify offers location search by bounding box and by travel time maps. We support a list of amenity types which is constantly filled up by new types. Read more about Geoapify Places API.

Location search by a bounding box

Location search by bounding box
Points of interest by bounding box

When there is no starting point for the search, for example, home address or exhibition place, it’s required to show points of interest on the whole visible area. So you need to query data for some bounding box, usually equal to the viewport of the map. There are some implementation details:

  • Execute new query for each map move to load new locations.
  • Define a minimal zoom level for the location search feature. Showing all points of interest for a small zoom level, for instance for the whole city, country or continent, doesn’t make sense.
  • Places icons as marker pins help to make your map more informative. Read more about custom marker items.

Location search by a travel time map

Location search by travel time map
Points of interest by travel time map

Travel time maps or isochrones show area reachable within a given time from a location. For example, all areas within 20 minutes driving from your home or within 30 minutes by public transport from a conference location. The isochrones could be used as a filter for locations reachable within the desired time. So you can show the real situation on the map and display only relevant for your customer data. Moreover, there are some implementation benefits as well:

  • You perform a query only ones per location, transportation mode, and time value.
  • Amount of data doesn’t depend from map zoom level but from the size of the isochrone.

Places API from Geoapify

Geoapify offers quick and convenient location search for both methods: by boundary and by travel time map. Try our API in Playground without registration or register for free to integrate the solution into your application.

Travel time map: TOP 10 use cases for businesses and individuals

Travel time is one of the most important criteria when you choose a location. That’s why a travel time map or isochrone is often used as the main analytics tool to answer spatial questions. In this article, we would like to show you some scenarios of how travel time maps can help to make a location decision.

Travel time map use cases for businesses

While Location Intelligence becomes one of the key tools of Business Intelligence travel time maps become more and more popular in the business world. Here are a few examples of the isochrones application which could solve business tasks.

Operations on travel time maps
Union and intersection of travel time maps

Choose a new office location

Relocation is always a big step for a company. It’s important not only to satisfy the needs of the existing employees but also choose an attractive location for the new employees.

You can build reachability maps with desired time for each of your current employees and check if there is an intersection between them. Moreover, with isochrones, you can filter statistics and check how many potential workers are living in the bounded area of a new office.

Check coverage of your network

You can build isochrones for each of your selling points and check their union to see the coverage of your network. Different transportation modes, for example, “by public transport”, “driving”, or “walking”, help you to see if there are empty spots on your coverage map.

Choose the best place for a new retail shop

Not only vacant spots but also potentially profitable locations could be found with Location Intelligence tools and isochrones. For example, you can see if your target auditory can reach a new location easily. Moreover, you can filter properties by isoline and check exact numbers for the location.

Estimate a place reachability

It’s always good to rank locations by reachability. How good is the public transport connection for a place? How big reachability area by car? Better connectivity will always provide more potential and perspectives for a location. In short, travel time maps are designed to solve this task as well.

Study opportunities and potential of a location

When you have statistical data, for example, demographic data, you can bound the data by travel time maps and get statistics by isochrones. So you can study opportunities and potential clients, who can reach the location within the desired amount of time.

Travel time map use cases for individuals

Not only businesses but also individuals can benefit using isochrones. Thus if you provide the service on your website, the website becomes more valuable and attractive for your customers.

Transit isochrone
30 min isochrone for public transport

Optimize commute time by choosing the right place to live

It’s know fact, that fewer time people spend commuting, happier they are. Isochrones can help you to optimize commute time for each family member to their working or study place. If you build the travel time maps and then calculate the intersection of them, you can see locations reachable from each point of interests.

Optimize commute time by choosing the right place to work

Moreover, the inverse problem also could be solved with isochrones. If you plan to change your working place, the travel time map could show you all the possible areas where a new working place could be.

Study amenities you can reach

Would you like to see on the map only amenities you can reach within the desired time? Sure, it would be great! Filtering amenities by an isochrone provides you the answer.

Amenities filtered by the travel time map
All dentists within 30 min by public transport

Choose the best place to stay in a new city

When you plan a trip to a city you’ve never visited before it always a challenge to book accommodation in a good location. Often you need a good transport connection to multiple points of interest. For example, to the airport and conference place. Intersection on travel time maps of each of the locations will show you the perfect place for accommodation.

Book a hotel within desired travel time from seaside or ski resort

Isolines will also help you to book a hotel within walking or driving distance from seaside or ski resort. By calculating union of beach entries or ski lifts reachability maps, you can see on a map where hotels with an acceptable walking or drive time are.

Geoapify provides Isoline API to build travel time maps

Isolines API allows you to build travel time maps for different traveling modes and all over the world. Our APIs work via HTTP Get requests and return GeoJSON object as a result. Moreover, we provide Geometry API which calculates intersections and unions of isochrones. So you can quickly and with ease create your own Location Intelligence solution or extend an existing one. Register and start building isochrones for free.

Create a map with Location Intelligence components

Does it make sense to create a custom map for your website? Sure, a custom map brings a lot of benefits and advantages to your website. For instance, with your own map you are able to show the important locations to customers, highlight areas you want to pay attention to, and visualize data which could be potentially very interesting for both sites.

Geoapify helps you to create a map from the beginning and add Location Intelligence components into it. Read how to add a map to your website.

However, location visualizations are not only what people look for on a map. It’s also important to make the map interactive and “alive”. So the users can interact and “play” with it and make location decisions.

Make your custom map “alive”

But what does make a custom map “alive”? How to make the map interactive? The answer is simple: add components to your custom map, where a user can enter his data and analyze outcome.

This could be an input to search a location, popups opening on a click and giving some details or location analytics components like routing or isochrones.

Turn your map into Location Intelligence application

Geoapify offers APIs and map components which help to turn your map not just into the interactive map but into a Location Intelligence application of the full value.

Geocoding API to create a location input field

It’s always great to have a location input on your map. However, it’s forgotten by many map developers. The service which allows you to look for locations address details by search string is called Geocoding.

As a result, with Geoapify Geocoding API you are able to specify the search and retrieve accurate results. As well as implement autocomplete fields.

Location autocomplete input

Check our Geoacoding API in the Playground.

Reverce Geocoding API to get a location address by its coordinates

Another useful geospatial tool is Reverse Geocoding API. It returns a place address by its coordinates. With Reverse Geocoding API you are able to answer the question “What is located here?”, when a user clicks on the map.

Check our Reverse Geoacoding API in the Playground.

Routing API to build a path

Often people search locations on a map which are close to their route. Although route building is so popular, it’s present only on very several maps. By using Routing API together with Geocoding API, you can create a convenient routing tool for your map on your website.

Routing for your web site

Check our Routing API in the Playground.

Isolines API to analyse travel times

Can you show your customers what can the get from their living or working place? Sure! With Isolines API! By using the API you will be able to highlight areas on a map reachable within a given time. Together with driving and walking modes, our Isoline APIs work with transit and bicycle modes.

Isochrone for travel time analytics

Check our Isoline API in the Playground.

Places API to show amenities near by

Last but not least are amenities and points of interest. Show your customers places they interested in. Restaurants, fitness studios, schools, and other places.

Check our Places API in the Playground.

Use Geoapify APIs to create a map for your website

Read more about our APIs here.

From GIS to Geospatial Intelligence

Technology advances in cycles. Moreover, the periods of evolution interleaved with revolutionary changes. And it seems that we are standing on the edge of the next revolutionary transition from experts-oriented GiS to Geospatial Intelligence solutions available for the much wider audience. The solutions which are easy to understand to a non-expert, easy to use, and affordable to small companies and individuals.

Geospatial intelligence brings more and more value to business intelligence products. As a result, the answer to the key question “where” start to play an extremely significant role by making business decisions.

Location Intelligence for business intelligence
Location Intelligence for business intelligence

Role of Geospatial Intelligence in our life

Imagine a holiday planning website where you can filter hotels by reachability. For example, visualize only hotels reachable within 10 minutes of walking from the beach or ski lift. Great, isn’t it?

Another case could be a property listing website. The website where you can choose a property with desired amenities nearby and optimize your commute time to the office or university. The website could help you, in addition, to find the best price-value ratio or investment potential based on your needs!

There are a lot of examples of geospatial intelligence appliance for business cases as well. For instance, an event planning service which takes an account of the living places of participants. Or office relocation website which suggests the best locations based on employees commute time and rental prices.

Good transport connection
Good transport connection

The increasing popularity of Geospatial solutions

Broad adoption of Geospatial intelligence can have an effect comparable to the transition from printed maps to digital maps. However, nowadays we can’t imagine our routine without smartphones and car navigation systems which guide us to the destination in an optimal way.

It is hard to believe, but just 15 to 20 years ago printed maps were the most common way to plan a route. Technologies like GPS, digital maps and computer-based routing were existing and moreover well-developed. But they were accessible only to experts, big organizations, and governments.

Geoapify mission to make geospatial intelligence affordable for everyone

At Geoapify, we see our mission in democratizing geospatial intelligence and underlying technologies. We intend to make it accessible, usable, and valuable for everyone who has unanswered “where” questions.

Our APIs provide everything you need to create a spatial solution from zero. Solution builder Mapifator helps to make custom maps with geospatial analytics technologies layers with graphical interface.

Administrative boundaries vs postcode boundaries

Maps are often used to visualize statistics. Demographical or socioeconomic data give a great overview of a location and allows to make conclusions about a territory. Often the data is shown are colored regions on the map which represent administrative boundaries or postcode boundaries.

What is the difference between the two types of boundaries?

OK, you have some data and would like to visualize it on a map inside regions. Firstly, you need to decide if you want to show it with administrative boundaries or postcode boundaries. Moreover, you think about how to combine/split up into bigger/smaller regions.

At the moment there are 2 common ways to break down a territory into regions:

  • by postcode or ZIP code boundaries;
  • by administrative boundaries.

For both cases, you need to keep in mind that a number of hierarchy levels may be different from country to country. Mixing the two options is also a bad idea, while then regions may intersect for some locations.

Postcode boundaries to visualize the data

So, you decided to visualize the data by postcode or ZIP code boundaries. This may be the simplest way to split the data by regions. But there are a few details you need to consider.

Firstly, you need to understand that postcodes are not translated into polygons in some standard way. Originally it’s service routes, which are represented as points or street sides. However, there approximated polygons for the post- or ZIP codes boundaries in most GIS data systems, but they may contain holes for some territories.

Secondly, don’t forget that in most cases postcode should go together with the country name. It could happen that locations in different counties have the same postcode. For example, the postcode 1204 could belong to Geneva, Switzerland or Dhaka, Bangladesh.

2 locations have the same postcode
Postcode 1204 is the same for Geneva, Switzerland and Dhaka, Bangladesh

Usually, postcode boundaries have 3-4 levels starting from a country level.

Administrative boundaries to visualize the data

This way to divide territories is more natural from the GIS point of view. The planet is already divided into administrative regions. It’s possible to combine the data by countries and event by continents.

The administrative division has 3-4 levels from county level depending on the size of the territory.

Drawing boundaries on a map and performance

It often happens that GIS data has big volumes. It may badly impact browser performance when you keep too many polygons data in memory. Following a simple strategy may decrease the risk and make data visualization fast:

  • Keep in memory only regions which are visible for a viewport and release memory for non-visible ones
  • To avoid having too many small polygons on the map, replace children polygons by a bigger parent polygon when the user zooms out
Lower to higher level of administrative boundaries
Lower to higher level of administrative boundaries
  • Use the level of details you need. Do not try to visualize the most detailed polygons

Where to get administrative or postcode boundaries polygons?

There are many ways to get the polygons data:

  • the data is open and available to download for some countries
  • GIS databases (e.g., OpenStreetMap data) contain boundaries polygons and you can query the data from there
  • use API and get update data when you need it

Geoapify offers APIs for administrative boundaries. Register and try it for free.